Medical students belonging to Rajiv Gandhi University Health Sciences staged a protest and urged the university to postpone the exams. The worry about writing exams is majorly focused on not being able to complete practical classes. Students feel that the practical experience is particularly vital in a field like medicine, where human lives are involved.
“Once the college starts they plan on doing the whole year’s internal assessment. Also, final years, in general, need one month to finish revision itself. How do we study in such a short period?” asked Monica*, a final year medical student from Bengaluru. She further added, “Medicine is learning through treating patients. If this step is fast-tracked, what kind of doctors will we be by the time we graduate?”
It was recently declared in a circular by RGUHS dated November 18 that the colleges would start from December 1 and exams would commence from January 19. This has left students worried as they have been given a short period to study, especially for medical exams.
On November 23, medical students participated in a Twitter storm with the hashtag #PostponeMBBSexams, which had more than 20,000 tweets. Students across Karnataka participated in an online protest on Tuesday too and in a few districts like Ballari, Vijayapaura, Kalaburai, students took to streets to protest. In a few other districts, students submitted a memorandum to Principals and Deans of colleges.
AIDSO, a student organisation, conducted an online survey consisting of several questions and presented the data. For the question ‘Is one and a half months of the class is enough before exam’ an astounding 97.4% of students among nearly 9,500 responded with a ‘No’. AIDSO also released a statement demanding that the RGUHS postpone the examination and involve all the stakeholders including students in the decision-making process.
“Our primary problem is that for eight months, we have not treated even a single patient and none of our practical classes have been completed. So without attending classes, how do we write exams? Also, the other problem is that they intend to finish all the internal assessments that were to be done since March are all being done at once in December,” said Hemant Desai, a final year medical student studying in MR Medical College Kalaburagi. He further added, “This becomes much more difficult for students who have failed as the supplementary exams go on till mid-December.”
One more difficulty the students expressed was that online classes have not been effective “I was able to attend all the classes but it was not very useful as there used to be breaks of audio and we also couldn't get our doubts cleared properly. Another problem is most students haven't taken their books home to study… although we have PDF it is not possible for too long in front of a screen,” said Aishwarya*, a second-year medical student studying at Raichur Institute of Medical Sciences.
*Names changed on request